To the Editor:
Beginning in April 2012, a citizen came forward requesting an amendment to the city code regarding the raising of egg-laying hens within the city limits. The presentation included information from several surrounding cities that do permit the raising of hens for this purpose. At that time the city allowed this to proceed to the planning and zoning council which was the next step in getting the amendment “passed.” A committee was formed with a member of the planning and zoning council as an advisor. The amendment was researched and written complete with lot size restrictions, enforcement recommendations, etc. All was spelled out in great detail.
In August 2012, in a 5 to 1 vote, the planning and zoning council passed the code as written to be voted upon by the city council. By the time it came before the city council, no motion was made. Questions were asked by citizens as to why and were met with a wall of silence. Letters went out from the city to current hen owners “enforcing” current code not allowing said chickens. This being the enforcement that they claim they cannot afford timewise or financially.
In the Sept. 11 meeting, the council finally spoke and expressed what their concerns were. Increased rat infestation, enforcement, disease, etc., were just a few of the concerns. What the city council failed to see was that each and every one of their concerns was addressed in the proposed code amendment including proper food storage, size limits, building specifications, required neighbor approval, and how the city would pay for enforcement.
Obviously the city councilors failed to actually READ the code amendment or actually LISTEN to the several presentations by knowledgeable citizens with their supporting documentation. It appears they made up their minds back in April.
What I fail to understand is if the city council had no intention of passing this code amendment, why did they waste city employee and taxpayer time and money by having the planning and zoning council members work on this issue when other issues could have been addressed or dealt with? How many hours did the city employees have to spend writing code, making phone calls, etc.? How is that fiscally responsible? How can this be called the best time and resource management for city employees and council members? How does this assure the citizens of the city of Cloquet that they still live in a town where they can be really HEARD by their councilmen and not just brushed off to the side like the pesky rats they claim overrun Wards 2 and 3?
Cloquet Ward 3 resident